Top 50 Marvel Characters #15-11
The countdown continues…
15. Silver Surfer – 461 points (8 first place votes)
Created by Jack Kirby, the Silver Surfer was the herald for the world-eater, Galactus. Upon reaching Earth, though, the Surfer was touched by humanity, and turned on his master.
For his betrayal, the Surfer was trapped within Earth’s atmosphere for many years.
Eventually, he escaped, and went on many different cosmic adventures.
More recently, the Surfer has returned to Galactus and once again has become his herald (I think Surfer is kinda addled or something).
Here is why John Mese had him at the top of his list….
The Silver Surfer is one of most imaginative and coolest looking characters in comics. Jack Kirby was really on his A-game when he came up with the character. The image of a silvery super-being gliding through space (and Kirby-crackles) is just awesome. He is a really powerful character too, which is easy to admire, but his extreme power level is tempered with a strong sense of nobility, honor, and sacrifice.
Silver Surfer Volume 3 (late 80s – early 90s) really stands out as one of my favorite series of all time. Jim Starlin and Ron Lim especially created an indelible run during their tenure.
Who wouldn’t want the power cosmic and be able to surf anywhere all the time?
14. Dr. Strange – 464 points (12 first place votes)
Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, Stephen Strange was a gifted surgeon whose partying lifestyle came to a crashing halt when he was in an accident, leaving his hands too nerve-shattered to perform surgery anymore.
Searching for a cure, Strange event traveled to a mystic, the Anicent One, Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme.
Cutting to the chase, Strange mends his bad ways and becomings the Ancient One’s apprentice, and eventually, becomes the Sorcerer Supreme HIMself!
Recently, Strange became a member of the Avengers for the first time, although he was a member of the Defenders for many years prior.
Here is why Patrick Zircher had Strange #1…
Dr. Strange is number one of my list of ten favorite Marvel characters. He was created by Lee and Ditko in ’63 and brought home from the newstand around ’75, but he’s really thousands of years old.
Dr. Strange is Marvel’s Merlin. He’s Hades. He’s the solitary figure who lives in a crystal cave, a dim underworld, a Sanctum Sanctorum, speaking to phantoms and phantasies He lives in darkness but has the mind of a sorcerer, a god, as bright as a star. He’s a philosopher, a psychic, and a fantasist with the contemplativeness and discipline of a monk. His inner life is richer than his physical one. These qualities abound in myth, in tales of ascetics and warlocks, but are uncommon in superheroes. Like a superhero, Dr. Strange is out to save the world, but he’s interested in the world as a whole, it’s physical and spiritual well being. His adventures through realms unseen are both sumptuous and sinister. He’s as different from Spider-Man and the Punisher (each of whom made my list, too) as a Marvel hero can be.
As an artist, Dr. Strange is everything I could want to draw. His persona and costume are wonderful, able to be rendered shadowy, subtly, and still allow for the melodramatic and fantastic. His stories and powers are exercises in imagination and, like Hades, he has (or had) his Persephone, in the form of the beautiful Clea.
Dr. Strange has been criticized for being so powerful, so proficient that there’s no sense of danger in his stories. But his stories are, or should be, less about physical dangers than emotional ones. He’s the sorcerer, the lone hoodoo man, the witchdoctor with one foot in the real world and one in the mystic. His dangers are isolation, alienation, insanity, and spiritual evil. He battles demons and enchanters but his real conflicts are with fools, friends, women, and greedy men who lure him from or threaten his solitude and contemplation, his ability to function, the way he lives his life. At the center is the calm, his Sanctum Sanctorum. Around it a storm
Thanks, Patrick! Have you ever gotten the chance to DRAW Strange in a comic? I cannot recall…but I could see him maybe being in an old issue of New Warriors as a cameo…
13. Magneto – 465 points (7 first place votes)
Appearing in the first issue of the X-Men, created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, Magneto was the opposite of Professor X.
While Professor X wanted to integrate mutants with humans, Magneto was just totally crazy, and wanted to, like, nuke the Earth or some crazy crap like that.
Eventually, when Chris Claremont took over the writing chores on X-Men, he made Magneto a LOT more sympathetic, and that’s basically the portrayal we see today (and in the X-Men films), where Magneto’s positions are shown as just a little more aggressive than Professor X’s, but not, like, totally insane.
In fact, at one point, Professor X even left Magneto in charge of his school! That did not turn out so well, but it is the thought that counts!
Magneto is currently biding his time, waiting for his return (after being “killed off” 134 times, it makes sense for him to be cautious).
Here is why Bill Steger had Magneto #1…
What appeals to me about Magneto is his righteousness. He’s not greedy, bent on world domination, or (at least when he’s the Magneto I love) completely insane. Magneto is trying to make the world a better place. His good intentions and his charisma force the heroes to question whether they’re on the right side. And could anyone else pull off purple underwear over a magenta unitard and not seem the least bit feminine? I don’t think so.
12. Nightcrawler – 497 points (12 first place votes)
Kurt Wagner, created by Dave Cockrum and Len Wein (mostly Cockrum), was a member of the All-New, All-Different X-Men.
Kurt was interesting because while he LOOKED like a demon( his teleporting powers even SMELLD like brimstone when he teleported), he was really a jocular guy who was quite religious.
He was basically Errol Flynn, if Flynn looked like a monster. He even gets the ladies like Flynn, but he left the other Flynn predilection for younger women to his teammate, Colossus.
After serving with the X-Men for many years, Kurt was injured in battle, along with Kitty Pryde. While the two recuperated, the X-Men were feared dead.
The two helped form a new team in England to carry on, calling themselves Excalibur. Here, Kurt came into his own, becoming the leader of the team. When the group disbanded, he went back to the X-Men, which is where he has been ever since.
Here’s my buddy Kurt on why, well, Kurt is tops in his book…
Nightcrawler is my favorite Marvel character for two major reasons:
#1. He combines two of my favorite motifs: the good man trapped in a monster’s body and the swashbuckling hero who loves his work (or did, in the days I still followed the X-titles), plus he is one of the few openly religious good guys.
#2. To quote my cousin, Michelle: “Nightcrawler’s name is Kurt, he only has three toes on each foot and he loves Errol Flynn movies. You liking him is practically narcissism.”
11. Iron Man (Tony Stark) – 603 points (11 first place votes)
Billionaire Tony Stark was forced to help create a suit of armor when his heart was damaged on a visit to Asia. With the artificial pacemaker the only thing keeping him alive, Stark figured he might as well do some good with it, so made a more advanced suit of armor, which he used to fight crime.
Passing himself (Iron Man) as his own bodyguard, Stark kept on keeping on, even helping co-found the Avengers, where he served for many years.
Recently, Iron Man was infected with something called “The Extremis.” Now, Tony is basically PART of the suit. He is quite literally an “Iron Man” now.
Even more recently, after the superhero “Civil War” ended, with Tony’s side winning, Tony became Director of SHIELD, which is where he currently stands.
Here is why Iron Man was tops on Ben Dillon’s list:
Iron Man was one of the first comics I picked up when I started collecting, back when I was a kid. I was a real science and sci-fi advocate/nerd, so I loved seeing a book that was so focused on technology. Not only was the armor cool, getting to see Tony deal with alcoholism, as well as industrial sabotage, really sucked me in. He’s fighting battles in his office, using his wits, just as much as he’s out in his armor, fighting someone physically. Tony’s inner demons are even more dangerous than his enemies. It wasn’t just another superhero comic, but a real life drama. Sometimes even a tragedy. A recent issue, dealing with Happy Hogan in the hospital (I believe it was issue 14 of the current run), and the choice he has to make as his friend, has to be one of the most touching comic issues I’ve ever read. Tony isn’t a superhero because his genes gave him an x-factor, or because he was hit by some strange rays in a science experiment gone wrong. He’s a superhero because he has an extraordinary intelligence and drive that allowed him to save his own life in a moment of desperation.
I take offense to how people have been looking at Iron Man since the Civil War event. Even though some writers have gone out of their way to portray him as a selfish jerk, the Civil War and core Iron Man comics have shown that he’s doing what he thinks is right, just like Captain America did. The fact that he’s willing to sacrifice everything: friends, reputation, etc, to minimize casualties and help the superhero community survive as best he can, speaks volumes about his character and integrity.
Thanks, Ben! Here is also Ben Tseng on Iron Man…
Tony Stark is an arrogant man, but rightfully so. He is one of the world’s most brilliant and richest people. But, he is cursed. He not only sees the way the world is, he also sees the way it could be, and he also sees the way to get from the first to the second. But on top of all that, he is plagued with a tragic flaw; he cannot understand why the people around him don’t do see things his way. He’s dismayed that people don’t do something about the sorry state of the world. And that tragic flaw — that rightful and righteous arrogance — it makes him lonely and isolated (as evidenced by his recent “tussle” with Cap). The man is a genius, doing the right thing (or at least he thinks so, but come on guys, Tony’s always right), but at the same time he’s hated for sticking to it. How else can you spell “tragic hero”?
As he said to Marvel boy in Illuminati #4, “I know what it feels like . . .to have more power than most people on this planet could possibly understand. To be able to see what the world should be or could be versus what it actually is. To feel contempt for those who refuse to see even a
glimmer of their own personal potential. And doubly so to be stuck here with . . . people so far behind.”
And at the end of the day, what comic fanboy (or girl) isn’t like that? What comic fan doesn’t look around at the world and see it lacking in heroes, in integrity, in justice? What comic fan doesn’t think they know a little better?
Thanks, other Ben! Greg Randall also gave me a good one, too, that I did not use. Thanks, Greg!
That’s it for today!
More on Monday!